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"Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine, and Connection" by Allan Karl


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To my good friend Allan Karl, who lost everything, said "fuck it," and took off on a motorcycle.


Sometimes when you do crazy things like this, your entire life can change.

Allan has now finished a book about his multi-year odyssey called "Forks: A Quest For Culture, Cuisine, and Connection" - Three Years, Five Continents, One Motorcycle, and has run a successful Kickstarter campaign to get it published, and now, he's taking it a step further.

Seriously, this guy had lost everything. He had no job, was divorced, pretty much sold everything he had or put it into storage, and said "bye bye."

He took off to the north, crossed the Arctic Circle, then went back all the way to Tierra del Fuego and beyond - it's one of the most amazing stories I've ever heard - the part when he shattered his leg (he spent several days being transported with almost no painkillers, just getting to a place where he could be airlifted (and thank goodness he took out insurance for that)) is absolute Hollywood material.

I could not be happier for Allan - he is a genuinely good human being, and deserves any good things that come his way.

This book, "Forks," is very relevant to this website because it's done in three parts:

1) Travel photography - There aren't many better travel photographers than Allan Karl. This pictures are incredible, capturing the humanity of wherever he rode. These pictures aren't about mountains; they're about people, nationality, culture, and friendship.

2) Recipes - For each country that Allan rode through, he is publishing classic national and regional recipes, along with photos of the dishes. I've seen a prototype of this book, and the recipes are well-worth knowing about (they are *the* classics for their respective countries).

3) Vignettes - This could *really* be trite, but it's not at all because this pasty white boy from California got his eyes completely wide opened by people of all colors and ethnicities who became his drinking buddies the very day he rode into town.

This book is worth owning, and I'm not only going to buy a copy, I'm going to donate to Allan's Kickstarter campaign - this is only the second time in my life that I've done something like this because in general, I'm not that big on Kickstarter unless it's for health reasons; I'm making an exception here.

Allan, I hope you sign in here and say a few words. Even if people don't donate (and I'm absolutely *not* asking or expecting anyone to do so), I think they'll be genuinely interested in your story. This is going to be one hell of a book.

A write-up by Carla King here.

Another by TravelEater here.


I remember so well when Allan was in the planning stages of his trip. His brother Jon was like, NO! And I was like, YES! This whole story just oozes with life, and what life is all about.

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Thanks Don! This is awesome.

A Quick Story From The Road:

It should be known, that in the quest for culture, cuisine and connection I was amazed to find wine being produced and bottled in Ethiopia! Yes, Ethiopian wine"”from grapes, not some other fermented fruit.

Though I had a corkscrew with me at all times, I didn't need it in Ethiopia. The wine had to be opened with a bottle opener "”like a bottle of beer!

I hope that DonRockwell.com readers at least check out the video and pictures on the Kickstarter page and post any comments or feelings back here. I know that over the past three years and beyond, Don has been a big supporter and he's lent an ear by listening to my stories and sampling some of the food that made it into this book.

Thanks Don!

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Still paying attention, of course!

I rode a BMW F650GS Dakar "” it's a single cylinder (thumper). Think of it as a big dirt or endura bike. Tall suspension (at nearly 5'8" I cannot put both of my feet flat on the ground when riding).

It's not the most comfortable ride at speed on paved roads. But in Bolivia, Botswana and Syria and Sudan, you can't always count on great roads. So the suspension is needed.

But I can solve your sore butt problem. I used an Airhawk Seat Cushion (asspad). This is a inflatable cushion with pockets (cells) of air that as you shift the air moves from cell to cell. Technology designed originally for those confined to wheel chairs or bedridden -- partner in company is a motorcyclist so he developed this cushion. I can't ride more than a few hours without it, now that I've ridden 62,000 miles + with it.

You can buy them at Bob's BMW out in Jessup, MD or check them out direct from the company:




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Allan, and his book, "Forks," had a segment on Good Morning America today.

When I first wrote my post on May 8, 2012, I had *no idea* a book would come out of this - just goes to show, you have to knock at the world's door because the world isn't going to come knocking at yours.

That "broken leg in Bolivia" was about 100 times more serious than they made it sound - that was an ordeal that nobody should ever have to live through. Allan, if you're here and care to relive that moment, I think people would appreciate hearing what really happened.

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